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September 01

Power Hour Changes – 10th September 01 – nocturne
Latest Game Update :: Power Hour Changes
The first hour that each character is played on a given day, known as the “Power Hour”, allows that character a possibility of bonus skill point advancements.

The Previous Standard
In the past, the power hour time frame on each shard was reset at midnight local time, meaning that players could always get a new power hour after midnight, regardless of when they last played.

Recent Changes
Recently, we began working to implement new software to monitor the shards’ performance, which requires that the shards’ times be consistent with each other. To accomodate this, all shards were set to run on GMT time, which does not undergo Daylight Savings Time. Due to this change, power hour no longer reset itself at midnight local time, but reset at the same time across all shards, which caused the power hours to reset at inconvenient times for many players.

The Solution
To resolve this issue, power hour will now be calculated based on the players’ play time, rather than the shards’ local time.

Players will experience a power hour for the first hour of play per character within a 24 hour period, which means that technically, the power hour will be refreshed 23 hours after the previous power hour has ended. To help players know when their power hour is in effect, a sound will now be played when a player’s power hour begins. If a player does not log in for over 24 hours, their power hour will begin as soon as they log in, and last for the full hour.

As an example, a player who logs in at 8:00 PM local time will experience a power hour that will last until 9:00 PM. They will not be able to experience another power hour during that 24 hour period, so they will not receive another power hour until at least 8:00 PM the following day. If they do not log in again until 10:00 PM, they will experience their full power hour, beginning at 10:00 PM and lasting until 11:00 PM. The following day, they will not be able to experience a power hour until at least 10:00 PM local time.

The power hour will also not be able to be broken up into smaller periods of time. Once the power hour has started, it will only extend for the next hour, and will be refreshed 24 hours after the last one begun.

In other words, if a player logs in at 5:00 PM local time and plays for only half an hour, their power hour will still last until 6:00 PM, and will still be refreshed the next day at 5:00 PM. So if that person logs in at 5:00, plays for half an hour, then logs back in again at 8:00, they will not receive another half hour of power hour skill gain, since their power hour would have ended at 6:00 PM (an hour after it began).
Postings on PH Changes –
Cynthe –
The power hour lasts for an hour. So if you get disconnected, and you get right back in, your power hour is still in effect until an hour after it began. If you are disconnected, and cannot get back in during that hour, then I’m afraid that you will not get another power hour until the 24 hours is up.
Greywolfe –
I’m not really failing to understand – I can understand the frustration of having those stackable PHs taken away better than you might think. When my sister and I would alternate days on the computer (we had only one) we would alternate stacked power hours as well. She GMed her alchemist that way. The main reason that I’m asking is for purposes of clarification.

I’m not certain that this move could be characterized as a “power trip.” A lot of people were concerned over the broken power hours; it seems to me that OSI was trying to serve the players while bringing a broken system in line with new external systems. Although the players might feel that the other system was more convenient and flexible, we don’t know how it would interact with the systems that Prophet mentioned. It seems to be a matter of trying to strike a balance between what is wanted and what has to be.
Hanse –
The system will notify you if you are in your power hour when you log in (after a short delay).

If you are online, but out of power hour and then play until your power hour starts, the system will notify you when it starts.

The amount of time cannot be broken up into shorter segments of time (ie: the hour must be played straight through without breaks).
Hanse –
Since the power hour is a contiguous 60 minutes, the same result is 24 hours after start of PH or 23 hours after end of PH.

With the old power hour system, you are currently unable to predict when your power hour starts (due to the external change that Prophet mentioned). The new system notifies you when your power hour starts.
Prophet –
First off we do have a method in development to find out if you are currently in power hour or how long till your next power hour starts. It wasn’t ready for this release but we decided to release the other changes anyway. Sorry for any inconvenience this may cause, it is only temporary.

It’s per character not per account or anything like that.

It’s 60 min from the time your power hour started (Whether your logged in or not) The fact is the previous system was buggy and sometimes did and sometime didn’t save your power hour time.

The hour begins if you are already logged in. Ie the best way to keep your power hour start at the same time is to login a few minutes before your power hour resets.

If you check your vendors in the morning and it has been more then 23 hours since your last power hour then yes your power hour will begin.

This change was made not because we wanted to but because of necessity. Changes to external systems fundamentally broke the way power hour worked. Rather then trying spending days and months trying to come up with a fix it was determined easier just to change the system to something simpler, faster (cpu and memory) and faster to implement. We know that not everyone will be happy with these changes but please understand that overall its better for the game.
Prophet –
Actually this takes about 1/3 less cpu and memory then the previous incarnation which is one of the reasons we are going with it. The other reason is we think it makes more sense as well.
Hanse –
We understand your concern. There are probably three camps on this issue, although please feel free to correct me. I’m pulling information from experience.

1) Players that play the game to have fun through other means than skill gain/skill usage.

2) Players that bring more resources to the game to build their characters as much as possible (power gamers) for many reasons (competition, accomplishment, security, etc).

3) Players that play when they have time with limited resources (casual gamers). These players may want to have the benefits power gamers have, but are at a disadvantage due to lower resources.

Casual players are what power hour was originally intended for. Some players want to be competitive and enjoy the game as much as power gamers, but do not have the resources to do so. Power hour is to help give some resources to players, but it does not replace a power gamer’s resources. The game was not originally designed for easy skill gains (balance issues granted).

Game Updates – 14th September 01 – nocturne
Latest Game Update :: Player Owned Barkeeps
Tavern Barkeeps – Players will now be able to purchase and own a barkeep, that can be placed in the player’s house. The barkeeps will serve as a method for players to support and announce their own events and quests, as well as give out scenario hints like town cryers.
Latest Game Update :: Savage Paint Fix and Orc Brute Update
Two Scenario-related matters are being updated:
  • Players wearing savage paint will now be trackable using the tracking skill.
  • The orc brute will have its loot increased and will have a chance to carry (and use) a magic war mace.

powerhour – 18th September 01 – nocturne
Rares :: Veteran RewardsVeteran Rewards are activated.
Veteran Rewards :: Rewards | Third Year Rewards | Second Year Rewards | First Year Rewards | Dye Tubs
Latest Game Update :: Client Patch 3.0.4p
Various updates and bug fixes, including paperdoll updates, localization files, and a crash issue involving non-humans trying to sit.
  • 3D Client
    • Paperdoll no longer closes and reopens to refresh the paperdoll model.
    • Players will no longer be able to equip non-wearable objects by dropping them on the paperdoll background. This was causing drag slot problems preventing them from picking things up.
    • Various animation files.
  • Both Clients
    • Fixed a crash bug that occurred whenever non-humans tried to sit.
    • Various localization files.
    • [Added Today] Players can now say the command “powerhour” to discover how long it will be until their next powerhour begins.

sploit – 01st September 01 – nocturne
Tajima –
The upcoming launch of Ultima Online in the Korean internet game room (IGR) environment won’t affect any subscription-based shards. IGR players will be running on a dedicated shard and patch server located in Korea.
Calandryll, Sunday Afternoon Scenario Update –
someone talks about a new robe.
Not sure what you are referring to here other than the spoiler in the previous patch.

teasing about new patch while the last scenario is not even over… and I had thought these screnario’s were not pre determined? Sure sounds like they are now.
The scenario isn’t over because some shards have not saved the towns. The next scenario can start even if they are not saved. However, the ending of the previous scenario was certinaly not predetermined and the fact that the next one can start doesn’t point to that.

nothing new to the BNN since July and here were are in september.
The BNN articles preview the following week’s content. Since there has not been a scenario update there are no new BNN articles.
PacketDragon, More on Port 5000 –
I have some more information regarding this issue, and wanted to share it with you all.

We have made good progress into our move away from TCP port 5000 usage. As of tonight, all of our foreign shards along with Siege are not using 5000 anymore. We do still have the majority of the domestic shards left to complete. Fortunately, because of the way the domestic shards are configured, customers with this problem are not going to fail login 100% of the time. Regardless, expect the rest of the domestic shards to be moved off port 5000 early next week.

I know for some of you this has been a thorn in your side for far too long. We really do apologize to those of you who have been affected. It’s been an oddball problem partly because the small number of those affected; and also due to much deliberation within our organization on how to best deal with this strange behavior from ISP’s. Hopefully though the majority of you are playing on your shard of choice again. If you are not, you should be soon.

Thank you everyone for all of your patience.
Greywolf –
Going to Ilshenar without the Third Dawn client is an exploit. It is illegal. Also, please remember that any alterations you make to your client to do so are in violation of the ToS.
Check out this post for some pics of Ilshenar in 2D. Pixies are a nice shade of pink.
FYI :: Veteran Rewards Update –
Just as a quick update, we believe that the connectivity issue regarding the Veteran Rewards server has been resolved, and the fix is in the testing stages. We hope to be able to continue re-activating the system on the UO shards very soon, and will notify the players once the new schedule is determined.
Few more quotes added to Crafting System [301101]. GM Ash introduces himself in Player Relations Comments. It’s rather tedious, so don’t bother unless you’re terminally bored.

Ascension – 03rd September 01 – nocturne
Been playing U9 for the past few days. It’s actually a lot better than I expected ((though, admittedly, it wasn’t hard to be better than the Suck I expected)). First Impressions and a full review to come. Meantime, you can look at some pwetty pictures.

Client Patch 3.04m – 04th September 01 – nocturne
FYI :: Client Patch 3.0.4m –
We will be releasing a client patch (2D 3.0.4m and 3D 3.0.4m Build 74) on Tuesday, September 4th at approximately 10:00 AM. This patch is the same patch that was previously released and reverted on August 30th, and contains the following changes:
  • 2D gameplay window can now be resized without restarting the client
  • When in a party in 3D, the player’s status bar will have heal/cure buttons
  • Improvements to the “Last Shard Used” button functionality in the 3D client
  • The character creation templates have been revamped
  • Book crash fixed
  • Players will not always be put in Britain when not using Advanced creation mode. They are put in a random starting city.
  • Players will no longer be asked if they wish to proceed with criminal acts while in Trammel.
  • New characters will now start with 80 stat points.
  • Many crashes and other bugs have been addressed in this patch.
NOTE: Windows 95 users that have not upgraded to Winsock 2 may receive the error “missing winsock32.dll”. To fix this problem, these users should download and install the new version of Winsock, which can be found here.

Also important to note: Users attempting to log in while using UO Assist may receive the error “The IGR time limit has been met.” Until UO Assist is patched by Tugsoft (its parent company), players will need to log in without UO Assist.

Got Milk? – 05th September 01 – nocturne
Out of CharacterOut of Character is running their very first contest. Here’s the scoop from Arakasi himself –

The Contest: As you may or may not of noticed on the about page I have a little Ara guy saying something not all that funny. I wish to change this. I want you, my valued reader, to come up with something else for him to be saying. Now I am going to use some magic to make that image load randomly so I will be taking the best 5 or so as the winners.

The Prize: To each of the lucky winners I will create one full color cartoon sketch of that person’s character, or I will use them as a character in an upcoming comic. Which ever you prefer. The sketch will probably look alot like the Ara one on the about page, though I can probably work in some subtle background. And no I will not draw your entire guild as one picture.
Visit the site for the details, of course. As you can see from the image, I’m not really that funny, so why don’t you give it a try? Tell him we sent you, mayhaps he’ll give us a permalink on his front page…
  • Stellerex, Senior Producer, posts in Dev Team Comments, making promises for a bright future and basically saying nothing at all in a lot of words.
  • The Official Boards are going through a revamp, more on that here.
  • As a follow-up to the discontinued use of port 5000, the changes are now in effect on all shards except the European (Drachenfels and Europa) and Korean (Arirang and Balhae) shards. The European shards should receive these changes on September 6th. The tentative date for the Korean shards is September 7th, pending some unresolved issues.
  • Due to an issue with the latest patch, some players have experienced disappearing walls in their houses. This issue is client-side only, meaning that in most cases, other players are seeing the house intact, and the walls will still block other players from entering. However, this has made it difficult for some players to see their house doors and signs and, as a result, some players have been unable to refresh their houses. To see that players do not lose their homes because of this, all houses were given an automatic housing refresh this morning.
And the patch that never ends…
FYI :: Client Patch 3.0.4n –
We will be releasing a client patch (2D 3.0.4n and 3D 3.0.4n Build 75) on Wednesday, September 5th at approximately 5:30 pm CST. This patch contains the following changes:
  • Disappearing macro bug fixed
  • Invisible house/boat bug fixed
  • Asian characters will no longer appear at the end of macros
  • Some localization files

LB does Korea – 05th September 01 – nocturne
NCsoft also revealed plans to introduce Lord British into the world of Lineage. Lord British is Richard Garriott’s legendary game character that first appeared in the long-running Ultima series of role-playing games. In May, NCsoft announced a partnership with Garriott’s new development studio, Destination Games, to help promote and launch Lineage in North America.

Postings – 06th September 01 – nocturne
A few more posts added to Crafting System [301101], including Cooking, Jewelry and Cartographers being able to use blank scrolls as materials for mapmaking.

More Postings – 07th September 01 – nocturne
Calandryll –
The current plan is to release the barkeeper next week (not necessarily on Tuesday). The next week of content will not be published the following week though. We are doing this for a few reasons. One, it allows us the time we need to finish testing the scenario to a satisfactory level, while also giving you all the first part. Second, since the barkeeper isn’t really part of the story, it wont really cause any real delays in the middle of a scenario. And third, it will give everyone time to get a barkeeper before the scenario starts. When the actual scenario wil start has not been determined… it all depends on the next patch, which is being built now, although parts of it have been tested in advance.

Also, this publish will include the fix for tracking players with savage paint on and an increase to the loot that orc brutes have (based on player feedback), including the possibility of weilding a magic war mace (instead of the regular one he has now).
Hanse, on Personal Stable Masters –
When it was suggested last year, while we were making the stablemaster fixes, the idea was shot down due to exploitability of a personal stablemaster. The reason is insta-ganking with pets. :)

If such a change were made, the stablemaster (or hitching post, as per the original suggestion) would probably only allow stabling and not un-stabling.

Blast from the Past – 08th September 01 – nocturne
The Village Voice
Ultima, based on earlier games created by Richard Garriott, a/k/a Lord British, is expected to have a minimum of 50,000 users – of whom 5000 to 9000 can play at one time.
The article is dated 170997. Yes, we’re nearing Year 4.

Power Hour Changes – 10th September 01 – nocturne
Patch, September 01 1/3 – Power Hour is being changed to reset based on individual play time, rather than based on the local times for each shard.
FYI :: Veteran Rewards Schedule –
The connectivity fix for the Veteran Rewards system has been published to all shards, and we are ready to resume activation of the Veteran Rewards system! We are targeting to activate the system on each remaining shard at some point during the day designated below, which means that players should not expect the system to be active immediately following their scheduled morning maintenance. Please note that this schedule is subject to change, and may be extended should any unforeseen issues arise with the rewards system. All dates listed are Central Daylight Time.
  • Tuesday, Sept. 11: Siege Perilous
  • Wednesday, Sept. 12: Europa and Baja
  • Thursday, Sept. 13: Arirang and Great Lakes
  • Friday, Sept. 14: Catskills and Hokuto
  • Monday, Sept. 17: Oceania, Izumo, and Wakoku
  • Tuesday, Sept. 18: Drachenfels, Mizuho, and Asuka
  • Wednesday, Sept. 19: AOL Legends, Balhae, and Formosa
FYI :: Account Information Reminder –
As a reminder, players should always keep their account information current through the UO account management page at http://www.ultima-registration.com. It is vital that you keep your billing and contact information up to date to avoid missing out on important news concerning your account.

It’s also important to note that the only way to link you to an account is through the personal data listed on the account management page, so in order to avoid disputes over account responsibility, it is imperative that the information provided is correct.
FYI :: Veteran Rewards and Power Hour Update –
We will be releasing a mini-publish today that should fix a connectivity issue with the Veteran Rewards system, as well as fix a problem that caused power hour to reset at the wrong time (see information on the power hour fix here). We will be bringing the shards down to publish this update this afternoon, and we anticipate the downtime to be no more than 45 minutes.

Once the publish is active, we will monitor the shards that are currently running the Vet Rewards system, and, barring any unforeseen issues, will release a schedule later today for the activation of Vet Rewards on the remaining shards. Keep an eye on FYI for new information!
  • Vet Rewards and Player Owned Barkeeps has been moved to Testing for Next Update.
  • http://www.onlineworldsfanfest.com
  • If you were afraid that UO would only have part of the stage at this year’s FanFest, you’ll love the changes we’ve made! Thanks to extreme interest from the UO community, we’ve decided to shift more of the focus of this year’s event onto Ultima Online. Meet the UO dev team, mingle with UO friends, and come to see what’s on the minds of speakers like Stellerex, Tajima, Calandryll, Prophet, Evocare, Adrick, and more. Sign up now to save over $60 off the regular price of admission during early registration!
Yes, I’m actually enjoying U9. First Impressions

911 – 11th September 01 – nocturne
No God, no truth, no land, no cause can justify the wilful taking of human lives.

There will be no news reported here for the next day, because continuing on as if nothing has happened is in extremely poor taste. Take the time you would otherwise have spent here and use it to consider the world you live in, and if there is anything you can do to make it better.

Oh, and vengeance is not justice. Think on that, too, if you happen to be angry right now.

Scenerio Updates – 13th September 01 – nocturne
Testing for Next Update :: Savage Paint Fix and Orc Brute Update
[140901] – Two Scenario-related matters are being updated.
Calandryll on Scenarios –
What the limit is on new additions (for instance, was the orc cave an entirely new area or just a previously unused area?)
Right now, the limitaiton is on the 2d client. The orc dungeon was existing space that we put dynamic items into to decorate it. In 3d, we can carve out new dungeons. This may change, but right now, adding brand new terrain to 2d client isn’t an option.

Will scenarios keep being mirrored between Trammel and Felucca?
Mirrored? No. Not everything will be the same on both facets. In fact, the last scenario wasn’t. Different cities were attacked on each facet (except Cove).

Would you consider killing off “main characters” of the UO world, such as Lord British, something acceptable and possibly interesting, or a no-no?

The balance between “monster bashing” scenario on-going content and other kinds of “scenario subquests”.
I’d like to get more non monster bashing stuff in the scenarios, but it’s easier said than done.

Will third dawn content (shadowlords, “exodus”, new equipment) be put in through the scenarios in any major way?
Maybe. :) Can’t give anything away, although I can say we have no plans at all to use the models for the shadow lords. Really, they should never have been made as they shadow lords themselves don’t exactly make a habit of making appearances.

Lasting scenario effects (such as map changes, if those turn(ed) out to be doable).
Very doable in 3d, much more difficult in 2d, unless you count things like the orc dungeon.

The possibility of doing something that interests both faction and non-faction players (for instance, a spawn of faction-aligned monsters (giving silver) would interest both factioneers and PvMers.
No plans to make factions part of the scenarios at this time.

The extent of inspiration drawn from Ultima prime when making the scenarios (I know they are not “copy-and-pasted”).
A lot. Gromm might be talking about this more though, so I’ll leave it to him.

If some scenario parts will affect Ilshenar only, resulting in there being periods within the scenarios when non-3D users do not get any new content while those with access to Ilshenar do.
The next scenario has elements in Ilshenar. I can’t say how much as I don’t want to give anything away, but we try to make sure that there is something going on in Tram/Fel as well.

1. When will Illishnar become more important in the overall timeline, history and ongoing content of UO? Right now it is only good for hunting and then only good when UO:TD isn’t lagging in quicksand (see #3)
The next scenario has Ilshenar elements.

2. Is there any discussion on a guild alliance feature?
It’s not something the content team would develop.

3. I have heard a few stories here and there of another UO expansion. Please tell me this isn’t going to happen until Third Dawn is more playable and offers better eye candy. I beta tested Third Dawn and quite honestly despise it. What type of work is going into TD to make it playable rather than throwing table scraps in the form of new titles and creatures. I realize this is probably better placed in the Third Dawn discussion forum but had to share my frustration anyway. Flame away you third dawn junkies :P
The team is still working on UO Third Dawn improvements, but I can’t say specifically what as it’s not something I am directly involved with.

What process do you go through in making a scenario (how do you come about deciding what to add, where do you get your plot line from, how do you decide which crafting skill gets a new craftable, or which fighting skill gets a new weapon)??
We get a lot of our ideas from Ultima Prime, our own brainstorming, and even stuff we’ve done in pen and paper RPing. The ideas flow from many different areas. As far as which crafting skill or new weapons, we tend to see what fits, rather than looking at what skills need help. The scenarios aren’t going to revitalize a skill that isn’t considered useful just by adding one item. So we concentrate more on consistency.

Do you have steps you go through?
Most of the steps involve me shooting down other peoples’ ideas. j/k. We don’t really have a set group of steps we go through.

Do you have a sort of “template” you use in brainstorming?
Nope. I think templates hurt creativity. We do have templates for design and test documents though and do generally follow typical brainstorming techniques.

do you do story-boarding?
Sure. We try to plan out each week in a big picture view before getting down to monster AI and items. The story tends to drive the content that way.

Do you act it out in the office with the rest of the team?
Gromm once came into the office as a savage. It wasn’t pretty. He promised never to do it again. ;)
Gromm –
Gromm once came into the office as a savage. It wasn’t pretty. He promised never to do it again. ;)
I don’t see why you won’t let me do that anymore. It’s not like I hurt anyone with that bola. Permanently.
Calandryll’s turn at Dev Team Comments gives us his take on the Virtues ((basically that he doesn’t know what to do with them)). For a look at Virtue in Ultima Prime, click here.
FYI :: Auto House Refresh –
We understand that many travel and communication avenues, businesses, financial institutions, etc. have been hampered or closed due to yesterday’s events, which has no doubt caused many players difficulties in accessing their UO accounts. We are also aware that yesterday was a day for helping others and a day of concern for family and friends. Due to the seriousness of this occasion, we will be refreshing all houses automatically this afternoon in order to help players who may have been unable to access their accounts.

Game Updates – 14th September 01 – nocturne
Tavern [140901] Barkeeps – Players will now be able to purchase and own a barkeep, that can be placed in the player’s house. The barkeeps will serve as a method for players to support and announce their own events and quests, as well as give out scenario hints like town cryers.
FYI :: A Moment of Silence –
In remembrance of the victims of this week’s attacks, we would like to join the rest of the gaming community in conducting a moment of silence and reflection in game at 8:00 PM CDT (6:00 PDT). Please note that this is voluntary, and we ask that players not call our support department to report others who choose not to participate.
FYI :: Removal of NPCs, Activation of Barkeeps –
In order to activate the new barkeep non-player characters (NPCs), we will have to remove most NPCs from the shards. This “wipe” of NPCs will not affect stable masters, player-run vendors, and any “non-essential” NPCs, and will affect monsters and faction vendors.

The NPCs will start coming back immediately, and each shard should be repopulated within 10 minutes.
Testing for Next Update :: Client Patch 3.0.4p
Client Patch 3.0.4p – Various updates and bug fixes, including paperdoll updates, an addition to the powerhour system, localization files, and a crash issue involving non-humans trying to sit.
General Testing :: Bulk Order Deeds
[301101] Bulk Order Deeds – A system that gives crafters (in this case, blacksmiths) the chance to fulfill bulk orders of specified items in return for extra rewards.

Postings – 16th September 01 – nocturne
Tavern Postings on barkeeps are here.
Cynthe –
There is something else that will be added into the system – a way in-game for players to determine how long until their next power hour begins. However, we felt it was important to address the power hour confusion quickly, and decided not to push the whole system back to wait on the notification, which will be added in once it completes testing.
Sannio, on Ilshenar TMaps –
Here’s what I found out (some of which you may already know, so please indulge me ;): When you find a treasure map it is supposed to be coded to be used within the facet you found it in. Since there are no treasure locations in the Ilshenar “facet,” any map you find there will be “broken.”

Our team knows about this issue and has a fix in mind that they will be working to get into the game as soon as they can, but that may not be for a little while yet.

I’ll post more information as it becomes available.
Calandryll, on his latest Comments from the Team ((The Virtues)) –
I’m not sure that it can’t be a system, but what my point really was is that it should not be a system by which we judge people, like a notoriety or reputation system.

As far as “I would just hate to wake up one morning to find someone yelling ‘Yaa doodz! I finally achieved Humility!’”… if that person did something that was really helpful to other players and personified Humility, would it really matter what is motivation was?

The fact is, most people in UO don’t roleplay. It would be nice if they did (and I say that as a roleplayer) but they don’t have to nor should we even pressure them to do so, nor is the lack of roleplaying in any way wrong. But, the other fact is, that some people do roleplay. And I for one think that any system that helps those that do want to roleplay define their character more is worthwhile, even if the majority of people using it are only using it for the rewards.
Calandryll –
Interesting idea, but I have to admit, I don’t agree with the idea of making organizations out of virtues. To me that seems a little too close to heading towards Blackthorns folly, as each organization would try to (sometimes without even realizing it) aspound their virtue over the others. I do like the idea of doing certain tasks to “achieve” each virtue though, but I also would prefer that it not be one task or quest… rather that it be something you have to do continually to “maintain” the virtue.
Calandryll –
Well, nobody will be named the Avatar, but I do think allowing players to demonstrate virtuous acts and then rewarding them for it is something that fits well with UO.
Calandryll –
I see the virtues as a way to enhance/improve the reputation system. Fame/karma titles are a flat table at the moment, only showing how many monsters you’ve managed to kill without dieing too often. The virtues could be used to add more depth there.
I don’t think the virtues should be tied or even related to the reputation system at all. The rep. system is a system that essentially judges you based on actions as either a good person or a bad person. The virtues are not about that.

Each player could have a number for each of the nine virtues, showing how strong he holds up the certain virtue. Some actions change that number, like helping others, fighting monsters, but mostly players should be able to increase/decrease that number with saying something like the already implemented “i honor thee” followed by targetting the player. That way crafters and the like could have their part of it. Optionally limit the overall sum of the virtue counters to a maximum.
Now this idea I really like. I think the point system (and it would have to be based on points, again, all code understands is numbers) would be transparent to you though. For instance, you would not know that you need 1,000 points to get humility and that each act gave you 5 points. I’m not sure how I feel about letting other players set your level of “virtue” though as any system like “i honor thee” opens up an unbelievable number of issues. But, I do think that clearly defining what tasks one can do to gain in a virtue and then tracking it is the way to go.

i really can’t see a way a virtue system would work if it was something like the reputation system. is that what your thinking of cal, or something else?
No, that’s exactly my point. The virtues should not be used as a reputation system. The virtues are not about judging people.
And some other stuff warning people not to be insensitive, which I didn’t post here. If you want to grief in the wake of death and the shadow of war, getting banned is the least of your comeuppance.

Houses Refreshed – 17th September 01 – nocturne
FYI :: Houses Automatically Refreshed –
Even as we resume our lives after the tragic events of September 11th, we at Origin understand that many people are still unable to attend to things at home, due to travel issues, communication difficulties, or concern for missing loved ones. To help accommodate those players who have been in any way affected by these events, Origin Systems will be automatically refreshing all Ultima Online houses through the entire month of September.
Gromm Discusses UO Fiction in Dev Team Comments.
Like any fantasy or science fiction, liberties must be taken at times to keep things interesting. Rules sometimes have to be broken or ignored. I’m not saying we’re going to ignore major game plot points, but sometimes the smaller things won’t be explained. Changes to game mechanics or spawn usually doesn’t come with a fictional explanation, it’s just a change made for game balance. It’s details such as those you won’t see us sweating too much over. We want the world to have a history and a story, but not down to every last patch of ground in the game. It’s not that we don’t care about having a realistic world, but we have to remember this is a video game. Sometimes we’re just going to have to ask that you use a bit of suspension of disbelief. I have yet to see any science fiction or fantasy where it wasn’t needed at all.
Bulk Order Deeds and relevant dev postings moved to its own page.

powerhour – 18th September 01 – nocturne
Latest Game Update :: Client Patch 3.0.4p
Client Patch 3.0.4p – Various updates and bug fixes, including paperdoll updates, an addition to the powerhour system, localization files, and a crash issue involving non-humans trying to sit.
Bulk Order Deeds dev postings updated.

Changes to Animal Lore – 19th September 01 – nocturne
General Testing :: Changes to Animal Lore
Classes :: The Tamer [301101] Changes to Animal Lore – Animal Lore skill will be updated as a stand-alone skill, to accommodate localization issues and player- and Dev Team-driven suggested changes. This update does not include any changes where Animal Lore coordinates with any other skill. Players will be able to use Animal Lore to gain two items of additional information about a given animal.

GGS – 20th September 01 – nocturne
In Concept :: Guaranteed Gain System
** Note ** This system is currently in a “concept”, or idea phase, and may change significantly at a later date. Also note that this proposal might not be used at all, depending on design and feasibility factors, as well as player feedback.

To learn more about the thoughts behind this proposal, please read the joint Comments from the Team on skill gain from Evocare, our Lead Designer, and Prophet, our Lead Programmer, located here. To provide feedback on this system, we invite you to post your thoughts here.

In essence, this modification would eliminate the need for “power hour” by providing opportunities for guaranteed skill gain during normal play.

Guaranteed Gain System (GGS)

The core of this system is the guarantee that if you play “normally”, you will gain skill. Under the GGS system, if you have not gained skill under the current use-based system after a certain time period, the system would recognize this and force a point of skill gain (point meaning a tenth of a point, as in moving from 70.1 to 70.2). The length of the time period, or timer, is based on the level of skill. The current time periods are listed below, but note that they are subject to change. In addition to the time intervals listed below, there would also be a limit on how many GGS points total per day a player can earn once their skill reaches 70.

Skill Value RangesTime Between GainsSkill Value RangesTime Between Gains
10.0 – 14.9160 secs55.0 – 59.915 mins
15.0 – 19.9200 secs60.0 – 69.920 mins
20.0 – 24.9250 secs70.0 – 79.940 mins
25.0 – 34.9300 secs80.0 – 89.980 mins
35.0 – 44.9400 secs90.0 – 94.9120 mins
45.0 – 49.9500 secs95.0 – 98.9150 mins
50.0 – 54.910 mins99.0 – 100.0240 mins

As always, you can only gain skill when you successfully perform an action. So an example of this is as follows: Let’s say you cast a spell of moderate difficulty, and succeed, but you do not gain skill. If the relevant time period passes, and you have still not gained a point in that skill, then the next time you successfully use that skill again, you will gain a point. These time periods are based on the server system clock, meaning that you don’t have to be logged in for your timers to refresh.

This does not mean that players would be unable to gain skill until the timer refreshes, because the GGS would not be replacing the current use-based system, but it would be implemented in addition to it. You would still be able to gain skill under the current use-based system, but the GGS would now keep track of how long it has been since you had gained a point of skill. If the time period had passed and you had not gained skill through the regular method, you would gain a point through the GGS. The use-based system, though, would not be restricted by time. Even if you had just gained a point through the GGS, the game would still check for skill gain under the use-based system, although admittedly it would still be incredibly difficult to gain skill in this way at the high end range.

To ensure that characters could not become Grandmasters overnight, there would be a limit on how many points of skill a player could earn through the GGS during each day. This limit would be high for players of low skill, but as players’ skill levels grow higher, the limit on how many they points they can earn through the GGS grows smaller. This means it would still take longer to gain skill in the 90’s then it did in the 10’s or 50’s (this is nothing new). Note, however, that this limit does not affect the current use-based system, so players who reach that limit can still gain more skill through the old skill system, by using the skills themselves.

The most noticeable difference from the current system (not including power hour) is that skill gains in the 90’s while playing normally would not only be possible, they would be guaranteed (provided you are performing your skill in or around your current skill level). For example, casting Magic Arrow with a magery skill of 90 would provide no chance whatsoever to gain skill in magery, even with GGS. You would need to cast higher level spells to see guaranteed skill gain. Similarly, crafting daggers with a blacksmithy of 80 would provide no chance to gain skill in blacksmithy. Skills that are not difficulty based, however, would always have a chance to gain.
Is it just me or does this sound like Rate-Over-Time ? Remember to check out the joint 1337 Dev Team Comments from Evocare and Prophet.

Dev Postings – 21st September 01 – nocturne
Bulk Order Deeds dev postings updated.
Sannio –
Floor tiles are not dead and gone, but they have been put on hold for futher consideration.
Calandryll –
Not going to confirm or deny anything, but I did want to say something to be clear. Any creatures that we do put in UO that were orginally designed for UO2 (like the ridgeback) wont have the same hstory or fiction as they did in UO2. UO2’s fiction, as cool as it is, does not fit with UO. Now, that doesn’t mean we can’t keep some elements to make sure we don’t stray too far and to offer some familiarity, but the highest priority with the content is to make sure it is fictionally sound with UO.
Calandryll –
True, we are not going to stop supporting the 2d client. However, there already are monsters that are 3d only… centaurs, ehereal warriors, pixies, etc. That said, there will be Ilshenar and Britannia elements in this scenario. Not going to say much beyond that.
Calandryll –
I think the rares collectors (myself included) are forgetting a very simple issue thats been with us since UO opened up – most of these “rare” items shouldnt have been rare in the first place.
Very true and well said.

The current trend the dev team is taking is a correction to a mistake that should have been fixed early on. We are supposed to be immersing ourselves in the world – remember, persistant?
It’s not so much about correcting the mistake. When we do decide to add something new, we look for interesting and cool items that we think players will want to have. ALso, we have to try to be consistent. If we wanted to expand blacksmithing for instance, we couldn’t add something like book shelves just because they are an item that isn’t rare. By the same token, there are lots of items that would fit, like hanging armor, the horse barding armor, and the decorative armor suits. We aren’t going out of our way to nerf or hutr the rares collectors. For the most part, none of the rares were the result of an exploit (like some of the status were), but as you said, they were the result of less than careful world building, bugs and virtually none of them were designed to be rare. That doesn’t mean we are just going to add new items without checking their rare status… we do check. And in a case where something is a rare, we will at least rename it. Looking at the rares list on sites that track them, many of the rares are nothing more than a normal item that anyone can get, but with a different name. The different name still holds value.

How logical has it been to have swords of vanquishing common, but a frying pan or alchemist flask, cauldron or dirty bowl “rare”? Comon now, think about it – Vets, if we keep our heads screwed on straight and leave greed out of it, its us expecting the “list” of rare items to remain the same since inception. If we fooled ourselves into beliving that keeping a frying pan or flask, (add your otherwise long arsed list in here) rare, then we had it coming.
I’ve often felt the same way.

Quest items, “named” items and special colored items should have and should BE rare, not items you’d expect to be commonly found in the world. Its being very self centered to deny the game these common items – admit it, people always have wanted to be able to decorate/use tools that add to the experience, and visiting a rare museum isnt the answer – it never was the CORRECT one and we know it.
Right. And most quest items are common items (like a sword) with a different name, hue and maybe an extra power… and of course they have some history behind them.

Tout vets leaving over rares being made common, and itll backfire on you – theres way too FEW of these items in existence to justify the ol’ bean counter god’s calculator not being turned on the dev team. Yes, Ive collected, sold and still have rares that would be devalued. I KNEW that eventually it’d come to this and Im happy for it, because the years I spent trying to belive that empty bowl of stew with a few pieces of fruit locked down on it was a fruitbasket just aint cutting it anymore – to the point of it not being worth 40$ a month to me, especially knowing that doofus mentality governing the “rares” list prevailed.
Again, we are sensitive to those who enjoy rares. And for me, this isn’t about the majority over the minority (although that arguement alone is strong). It’s about offerring new items for crafting skills, something that has been sorely lacking of late.

The game and experience for the long haul will benefit wether a few quit or not, and have long term effects contributing to a already, borrowed time game in its PRESENT form. Ive spoken as a person on both sides of the fence on this issue for years, and even though I worked my arse off for some of these things, the end result for everyone doesnt devalue the fun Ive had so far – especially not to the point of stagnating or outright denying other people the deco rights they should have been given by design.
I don’t want anyone to quit. Which is why we are going to rename any item we do add if it is considered a rare. And while some folks might leave, I think in the long run, the game and the community at large will benefit from new items.

Face it – they are correcting a mistake that may bother a few, but please very many. If they keep it up, they might even get 40$ back out of me a month. ;)
We’d like that very much. :)
I’m not going to confirm the additition of any specific items though. We don’t talk about scenario designs or systems until they are actually in the game, even if some clues are in the patches.
Gromm –
I’ve seen a lot of people asking why the barkeep does not sell fruit. We removed fruit from his menu because the barkeep was meant to be a tool for players to use to enhance the atmosphere of their play experience, not to give them any kind of advantage. His purpose was always for fun, not for conveinience.
Calandryll –
“News” is only for scenario clues. The reason we really shoudn’t do that is it needs to be consistent. If we allowed other things to go in there, it would cause confusion between what is and what is not a real scenario clue.
Prophet –
All skills, skill interactions, and skill checks need to be noticed by GGS. This includes Lumberjacking when swinging an Axe, Poisoning when casting Poison with a “Nox Mage”, etc.
Yes all skill checks will be watched by the GGS.

If, for example, a character performs an action within his or her GGS timer that does NOT qualify for a gain at that time (Magic Arrow @ 90 Magery, Lesser Poison @ 80 Poisoning, etc) – does this count as an attempt upon GGS and thus take away that point of possible gain? Or does it then wait until you do something significantly difficult?
No it does not count against your GGS attempt. You won’t gain but it won’t take away your chance at a GGS gain next time. After all it wouldn’t be guaranteed then would it!

Should power hour be removed in favor of this? I say no. Recently power hour has received some additional programming resources. It has become something that is different but still usable. It should remain alongside GGS and the typical skill-gain system.
Power hour is a goner if we put this in.

Perhaps make Power Hour a hyper GGS instead of what it is right now… have the timers for every skill level in GGS cut by 95% during that hour. (I just finished entering all your timer data into a calculator and multiplying each by 0.05 to see what that would look like. It looks great folks. I think you’ll find that to be a great way of handling power hour)
As Evocare and I said in our comments the one hour a day thing doesn’t work for the people who its really meant for. The casual gamers. Nice idea but I don’t think its going to make it in.
Prophet –
The limit is on skills above 70. The exact number limit obviously has not been determined since this is still in the “in concept” phase. We aren’t meaning to keep anything from you. With a system like this its hard to get everything out all at once, please bare with us.
Cynthe –
The resource issue seems to be one that’s being repeated fairly often, but it comes down to the fact that players can either choose to GM a skill fairly slowly, using very few resources by only attempting the skill after the timer runs out (and keep in mind that with a limit in place on how many GGS skill points you can make in a day, you won’t be able to log in every 4 hours and get a point consistently – so yes, it will be fairly slow)… or you can choose spend more time in game working your skills, use a lot more resources, and GM that skill much faster.
Cynthe –
Yes, you would be able to make a T-map every four hours or so to get a guaranteed gain, as long as the map is at a moderately difficult skill level for you at the time, and you succeed on your attempts. Although keep in mind that there would be a limit on how many guaranteed skill points you’d gain within any 24 hour period (this limit not affecting use-based skill gain, though).

Four! – 22nd September 01 – nocturne
Four! To celebrate four years of UO, I went and cleaned up the Ultima Collection subsite. I’m also thinking of expanding it, but I don’t think anyone cares about non-UO Ultima anymore. Ah well. I’m still having fun in U9, though.

Bartle-Quotient – 24th September 01 – nocturne
Looks like O$I is celebrating the 4th year by not saying anything much. To entertain you, I point you toward The Bartle Test. The Bartle-Quotient measures what type of MUD player you are, and also applies, more-or-less, to UO. I’m Achiever 86%, Explorer 80%, Socializer 20%, Killer 13%. Which explains why I have no friends at all and 199 pages of html on UO.

In Concept – 25th September 01 – nocturne
FYI :: Client Patch –
We will be releasing a client patch on Tuesday, September 25th at approximately 2:30 pm CDT. This patch contains a fix for a data error, and does not contain any gameplay changes. NOTE: As there are no executable changes contained in this patch, the in-game version numbers will not change, and should still read 3.0.4p (2D client) and 3.0.4p Build 77 (3D client).
Calandryll –
The art that was added was a fix because the old art got patched out in the previous patch. Version control problem that we quickly resolved.
In Concept :: Repair Service Contracts
[121001] One of the cornerstones of Ultima Online is the activity of players sharing items with other players in order to obtain repairs for their armor and weapons. A supplement to these transactions will now exist in the form of “repair service contracts.”
In Concept :: Commodity Deeds
[121001] New items known as “commodity deeds” will give players the opportunity to transport and trade resources, of sizes that were previously unable to be held within a character’s backpack, with greater ease and security than before.
In Concept :: Secure House Trading
[121001] A method for increasing the security of house trading will implemented.

On the Boards – 26th September 01 – nocturne
Some dev postings added to yesterday’s post and to Bulk Order Deeds.
Vex, on exceptional plate success rate –
I know this isn’t the answer y’all want to hear, but:

We don’t feel that the low chance of making exceptional platemail is a problem. There are currently no plans to alter the success rates of these items. Please take note, however, that players will soon be able to see their exact chances of making a particular item (overall success rate and exceptional success rate). That should make quite a difference in how it feels to be a crafter.

I already know from personal experience – I have played a GM smith since before I came to work here. When I started here, I found the time to go digging through the item creation and skill gain documentation and code, and learn exactly how it works. Once I could observe that there was nothing weird going on with the random number generator, I found I got over a lot of my frustration. Once you don’t expect to get lucky every time, or take a bad run of luck personally, it’s much more fun to make full plate suits.
Hanse, on the whole “design process” –
There are many steps in the design process. Some steps may take longer than others, but in a given day we may work on fixing many bugs with other areas of the game. This depends on how extensive the design is. If the design is simple, we could do many designs in a day. This really depends on our workload.

So, in the case of the bulk order system, it has been complete since a couple weeks ago. It is going through the QA process, but they have many other projects and fixes to review. While it waits in line to be QA’ed, we’re off fixing bugs and working on other designs.

Once QA starts reviewing the system, they kick bugs back to us to fix. We fix them as they roll in and at the same time we’re fixing other bugs and working on other designs.

The bulk order system is a small system and can be managed by one person (design side). So, that leaves us with eight other designers all working on other projects. :)

For each new design, we fix many more bugs. We do both. UO grows as well as becomes more bug free. We’ve spent the last year and a half fixing bugs aggressively. We continue to do so. I personally worked on two new features and fixed near twenty bugs this week. The ratio is much higher than it may seem to you.

We are a live team dedicated to making the game more fun, as well as stable. You may notice some issues in the game that we do not address quickly. That’s why our boards and our email contacts are available for you to report them.

Also, there is a slight difference in what you may consider a bug, a logical error, and a game balance issue.

A bug is something that does not work (ie: you can’t get ingots, can’t open a door, can’t craft an item, can’t lock down items, etc).

A logical issue is something that works, but not as intended (ie: you smelted ore and got 1 ingot instead of 2; you opened a door, but it opened the wrong way; you put on clothes, but they showed up in the wrong order). These range from minor to major. Minor logical issues are not fixed as soon as major, obviously.

A balance issue is a system functioning in a manner that outperforms/underperforms a comparative system. These are not bugs. These are possible design issues. Balance issues are touchier than the two above as they are more ambiguous. They vary per person due to their different perspectives on what the system should or shouldn’t be.
Hanse, on Ore Elementals not spawning –
It’s spawning for me. You only have a 2% chance of spawning one per swing. It’s not the most common occurance.

Also, I did find a hue issue with the elementals. I could spawn them properly, but the actual pickaxe was changing them after they spawned to a different hue.
Cynthe –
Rezkilling is not illegal, and will not be made illegal. It’s a part of the strategy involved in factions.
Gee, you would imagine people would go somewhere safe to rez.
Tajima takes his turn at Dev Team Comments, where he fesses up to being an attack helicopter pilot as well as a true geek.

Big in Korea – 26th September 01 – nocturne
Red Herring :: The Serious Game: Xbox empire in South Korea?
In May, NCsoft paid $33.4 million in stock and cash for Destination Games, an Austin, Texas-based startup headed by Richard and Robert Garriott and Richard’s former colleague Starr Long. These gaming legends are well known for creating and fostering the Ultima series of role-playing games. Now they’re being bankrolled by NCsoft, which is collecting a cool $80 million a year in revenues from Lineage.

Scenerio Next Week – 27th September 01 – nocturne
The new story has been posted on BNN, The Reward. Which means that the scenerio will go live as of next week.
Exhausted, Guilhem tossed down his spear and sat heavily on a stone in the swamp. The small party of surviving savages took notice of his mood and warily drifted away from their aggravated leader. Weeks ago the Master had ordered him to increase the tribe’s attacks into the human cities, but now they had been forced to settle here, defeated. He had known going into the fight that the odds of holding even one of the cities were slim, and he had tried to express that to the Master. But once an order was given, it was expected to be followed to the letter. Guilhem had seen the penalty for disobedience and had no desire to again, especially from the victim’s point of view. He wondered again what the penalty for failure would be and shuddered.

Online Worlds FanFest – 28th September 01 – nocturne
The Online Worlds FanFest has been pushed back to January 11th & 12th, 2002. For more info, check the Official Site. In addition to the UO team, speakers include Gordon Walton and Will Wright of The Sims Online and Brett Sperry of Earth and Beyond.

Blast from the Past – 30th September 01 – nocturne
01062k Metro :: The Surreal World
A character riding a nightmare into town is equivalent to someone parking a Lamborghini in front of Starbucks. It means that this is someone with power, wealth and clout. The other characters just quietly stand next to him, apparently waiting for him to speak.
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